What I See as the Role of the B.C.F.G.A. in its Second Century

by Allan Claridge (President 1966-1972)

In its first hundred years of being, the B.C.F.G.A. had to change its approach and justify its existence time after time, and that aspect will not likely change in the next century.

At the forefront will be the need for the preservation of a strong primary producer voice to make continuing representation to all levels of government. This voice must bear in mind the fact that agricultural interests will be under pressure from governments on a continual basis; it must reflect the public perception of its right to control and dominate production methods, crops and distribution; it must recognize the overriding attempt to prevent farmers from organizing in as strong and effective a manner as is necessary to compete with the perceived ideas of what is good for farming as seen by the vast majority of voters.

The B.C.F.G.A. will not only have to strive to illustrate to the grower body that unity and strength are necessary, it will also have to sell its case continually to urban residents, if we are to get a share of justice from a society that will not otherwise understand or care until food costs and availability pressure it as consumer.

We will not be in a time when anything can be taken for granted. We will be in an era when the very rights of farmers to speak for themselves through their democratically elected boards and associations will be assailed by farmers and nonfarmers alike. An ongoing effort to illustrate clearly that a successful organization represents the producer-members' interests on the broadest possible front will be a must.

Toward that end, I see the B.C.F.G.A. continuing to be the glue that will be needed to hold the industry together, the reasoned but firm voice of (hopefully) all tree fruit growers in the province. The B.C.F.G.A. must make sure that the primary producers' voice is effectively presented so that those engaged in growing fruit never become the orphan children of society-a role that is sure to be theirs if each person tries to go it alone.

Need, logic and past experience clearly indicate that there is a large role for the B.C.F.G.A. in its second century.

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